Wednesday, August 17, 2016

July, 2016 - 10th Temperature Record-Breaking Month in a Row

Out on the campaign trail Republicans are continuing to describe climate change as a myth or unsubstantiated claims.  Meanwhile, July, 2016, was the tenth (10th) record breaking temperature month in a row.  This is based on records going back 136 years.  As a piece in Slate notes, apparently the only way to secure a meaningful response to the threat posed by climate change is to vote climate change denying Republicans out of office at all levels. Defeating Donald Trump is a good first step, but here in Virginia, gerrymandering protected Republicans also need to go down to defeat next year. Here are article highlights:
October. November. December. January. February. March. April. May. June. And now July.
For the sixth seventh eighth ninth 10thmonth in a row, we’ve had a month that has broken the global high temperature record.
According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, March April MayJune July 2016 was the hottest MarchApril May June July on record, going back 136 years. It was a staggering 1.28°C 1.11°C 0.93°C 0.79°C 0.84° C above average across the planet.* The previous March April May June July record, from 2010 20142015 2011, was 0.92° 0.87° 0.86° 0.78° 0.74° above average; the new record beats it by a full tenth of a degree.
As you can see from the map above, much of this incredible heat spike is located in the extreme northern latitudes. That is not good; it’s this region that’s most fragile to heating. Temperatures soaring to 7° or more above normal means more ice melting, a longer melting season, loss of thinner ice, loss of longer-term ice, and most alarmingly the dumping of billions of tons of fresh water into the saltier ocean which can and will disrupt the Earth’s ability to move that heat around.
What’s going on? El Niño might be the obvious culprit, but in fact it’s only contributing a small amount of overall warming to the globe, probably around 0.1° C or so. That’s not nearly enough to account for this. It’s almost certain that even without El Niño we’d be experiencing record heat.
Most likely there is a confluence of events going on to produce this huge spike in temperature—latent heat in the Pacific waters, wind patterns distributing it, and more.
And underlying it all, stoking the fire, is us. Humans. Climate scientists—experts who have devoted their lives to studying and understanding how this all works—agree to an extraordinary degree that humans are responsible for the heating of our planet.
That’s why we’re seeing so many records lately; El Niño might produce a spike, but that spike is sitting on top of an upward trend, the physical manifestation of human induced global warming, driven mostly by our dumping 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year.
Until our politicians recognize that this is a threat, and a very serious one, things are unlikely to change much. And the way I see it, the only way to get our politicians to recognize that is to change the politicians we have in office.

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